Diaz explores rezoning near new train stations

A rendering of the future Metro North commuter train station in Morris Park.
Courtesy of MTA

Although the future Metro-North stations in the Bronx are still quite a ways off, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. is proactively planning for the growth they could spur.

“In advance of our four new east Bronx Metro-North stations, we are examining rezoning opportunities in these neighborhoods,” Diaz announced during his state of the borough address last week.

Those four future stations—in Hunts Point, Parkchester, Morris Park and Co-op City—are part of the MTA’s Penn Station Access plan to use the existing Amtrak line to connect the east Bronx to Manhattan and Connecticut’s New Haven Line.

The $743 million project is included in the MTA’s 2015-2019 Capital Program, but is only in its early stages of development.

Of the four sites, there are two areas with the potential for significant development, said a spokeswoman for the borough president.

Parts of Eastchester Road in Morris Park and East Tremont Avenue in the Parkchester area near the future stations are currently zoned predominantly for manufacturing and commercial use, and both these areas have a significant number of under-utilized commercial or warehouse-type properties. This offers an opportunity for the development of mixed-use residential and retail communities.

The borough president feels residential development in close proximity to the stations would make them attractive for families and individuals interested in having access to both New York City’s central business district and suburban employment opportunities.

“The new Metro-North options in Co-op City, Parkchester, Morris Park and Hunts Point will not only make our region’s transportation system stronger,” said Diaz in a statement. “It will also open up our borough and its residents to new economic opportunities such as more variety and affordable housing, new retail businesses and increased accessibility to others borough, resulting in reduced transportation costs and easier commutes for Bronx residents.”

The Metro-North expansion plan has the potential of creating close to 5,400 jobs in the Bronx, said Diaz, and could help revitalize existing retailers.

Reach Reporter Jaime Williams at 718-260-4591. E-mail her at jwilliams@cnglocal.com.

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